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Monday, August 29, 2011

Lady Of Burlesque (1943)

Set in a burlesque house, the performers all fall under suspicion after one, then another, stripper is strangled by a G string. Can the killer be unmasked before there's a third murder? William A. Wellman directs this atmospheric look at burlesque folk that's based on the novel THE G STRING MURDERS by the famed stripp ... uh, ecdysiast Gypsy Rose Lee. Censorship restrictions at the time preclude any real stripping and Wellman does it by suggestive shots of Barbara Stanwyck from the shoulders up but from the expressions on her face, you know what's going on below the shoulders. As a mystery, it's pretty routine stuff and when the murderer is finally revealed, it's no surprise. But the quips are plentiful and fast and it has an authentic feel to it. Stanwyck's pretty terrific here. It's fun to see her singing and in her own voice too (her performance of Take It Off The E String, Put It On The G String is delightful), doing the jitterbug, even doing cartwheels and, of course, she knows her way around a wisecrack. Unfortunately, she's saddled with the irritating Michael O'Shea for a leading man. The cast includes Iris Adrian, Marion Martin, Janis Carter, Gerald Mohr, Pinky Lee, Charles Dingle, George Chandler and J. Edward Bromberg.

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